So, last night was the opening of our show. It was the second full-length show I have produced and directed and the first musical I have produced and directed. I must have lost my mind trying something this complicated for the first show. I thought I was going the easy route picking a show that came with a director's guide and an accompaniment CD (so I wouldn't have to hire/find/rely on a live orchestra) and a guide vocal CD and all sorts of other goodies (which did truly make it easier), but seriously... do you know how many different settings Beauty and the Beast has? In case you are wondering... like 9. My theater has NO wings (really, I mean NO wings, it's a joke how little space there is backstage. It is almost ironic to call it backstage). Have you ever thought about how to turn a man into a clock? a woman into a teapot? a 9 year old girl into a teacup? Or an entire choir of 4th and 5th graders into forks and spoons? I hadn't ever thought about these things... and I am not that creative... but there I was with hundreds of dollars of scripts and materials and the very expensive rights to an amazing Disney show, and doggone it... I was going to direct it.
Luckily, although I am not that creative, I am surrounded by these amazingly creative teenagers with great ideas and great enthusiasm, and I work at a school with this wonderfully collaborative spirit. The music teacher jumped right in to direct the music and one of the elementary teachers that has a music volunteered his choir for flatware and trained them amazingly. Then, it turns out that the chemistry teacher has experience with choreography. The mother of the "beast" is a seamstress who did a great job on our more complicated costumes, and my students had great ideas for everything. The show came out wonderfully.
It stood up to the toughest critic... my son. Vinny was actually scared of the beast and even told my mom during the library scene, "He's gonna be nice now." The transformation happened for my 3 year old. My mom said that the 5 year old girl sitting in front of them whipped her head around the watch the mob march off to "kill the beast" and had a look of genuine alarm in her eyes. IF we can make the little kids believe it is real, then we have done our job. People were genuinely entertained, and I could sense that they were really excited for Belle and the prince when all were "human again." There is NO better feeling than seeing all your hard work result in genuine entertainment.
I thought that there was no feeling that could compare to being on stage and sharing the magic of theater with an audience... but there is. The feeling of sitting in the back of an auditorium and seeing your vision come to life to entertain a completely packed house. Now THAT is magic!
Now a few pictures from "behind the scenes"